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Full text of "Tar Heel Preachers"

LAYMEN'S EDITION 



TAR HEEL PREACHERS 

THEIR ORDER AND THEIR SUPPORT 

BY 

CHARLES CROSSFIELD WARE 

An adapted reprint (by permission of Bethany Press, St. Louis, Mo.) 
of chapters 19 and 20 in Ware's "History of the Disciples 
of Christ in North Carolina." 

''Nothing in the past is dead to the man who would learn how^ 
the present came to be what it is." — Old English Saying. 

DEDICATED TO THE LAYMEN, 
NORTH CAROLINA DISCIPLES OF CHRIST 



Printed for 

The North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention 

by 

Owen G. Dunn Co., Printers, New Bern, N. C. 

Prices: 15fJ per copy; $1.00 per dozen copies. 
Order from C. C. Ware, Box 1164, Wilson, N. C. 



I. THE MINISTRY — ITS ORDER 

As the Disciples developed they faced their greatest problem, 
that of leadership. Their pioneers were necessarily all adopted 
leaders. That is to say they came over from other Communions. 
A ministry indigenous to the body, and otherwise qualified was 
of first importance, if they were to come permanently to be a 
great people. Naturally this required a generation to mature. 
In the meantime the melting pot for their preachers was of prime 
concern to the Cause. 

An evangelist coming to the North Carohna Disciples from 
Kentucky in 1850, was Jesse P. Nevill. He was employed as 
their first general evangelist in 1854. His salary was to be 
twenty-five dollars per month. He did good work. The records 
do not disclose any dissatisfaction with him until 1857. He was 
then summarily dismissed from their fellowship by the follow- 
ing resolution adopted in their Annual Conference at Antioch 
(Farmville) : ''In-as-much as Elder Jesse P. Nevill has recently 
published to the world certain untaught speculations concerning 
the origin and increase of Devils, the perpetuity of the Earth, 
and offering that both Heaven and Hell are in this world : All of 
which we consider as directly and indirectly subversion of the 
Christian Faith, he be, and hereby is, expelled from this Con- 
ference." 

The Disciples had continued the Baptist order of a stern and 
active discipline in the local church. They had also continued the 
General Conference Method of the Free Will Baptists in calling 
the roll of preachers in annual executive session in an open, dem- 
ocratic, free-for-all, determination of the current roll. They were 
intensely democratic, but they took great pains at this point to 
see that their democracy was not abused. They were so demo- 
cratic they would not have disfellow^shipped Nevill for his pecu- 
liar opinions if he had held them in reserve and continued preach- 
ing the Gospel in its purity and power. Nevill, however, gave 
persistently his peculiar views as the burden of his message. 
This was shown in a characteristic conclusion to a sermon which 
he preached at Raleigh June 14, 1857.^ The text was Ecclesiastes 
1:4: ''The earth abideth forever." His proposition was that 
heaven and hell were to be found only in this present life, and 
that after death all people were to return to the earth. He con- 
cluded : 

This is my view of the subject and not that of any church known to 
me. I am now fishing with my own hook and select my own bait from 
the Bible for the great Gospel Field where there are many fish. Let us '" 
live with the fond and pleasing hope of appearing again in the ages to 
come among the children and men on earth. Let us spend the remainder 
of our life in making arrangements for our reappearance in the land, of 
our nativity. O let us remember that our felicity and honors on our re- 
turn to our race will be determined bj what we now do. 



Their Order and Support 



3 



Other cases of discipline arose in the annual meetings. It was 
necessary that the procedure be given a concerted and explicit 
form in order that the method might be regular, and fair, and 
simple. When the initial Constitution was adopted in 1857, no 
provision was made for this. But in 1859, John P. Dunn, Alfred 
Moye, and Dr. John T. Walsh, were asked as a Committee to sub- 
mit a revision of the Constitution. This was the last conference 
service of John P. Dunn, as he died soon after. The last three 
articles of the revised constitution as adopted had teeth in them. 
They were as follows : 

Article 12. No person proposing to unite with the Disciples of Christ 
as a preacher from other religious parties, shall hereafter be received 
without first exhibiting his credentials, and giving satisfactory evidence 
of his good moral character. 

Article 13. The names of all the ministers belonging to this Confer- 
ence shall be called over at each session for the examination of Christian 
character; and should the name of any minister be stricken from the list 
of preachers, for immoral conduct, or conduct unbecoming a Christian min- 
ister, it will be the duty of all the churches composing the Conference, 
to carry out the wishes of said Conference, in reference to such minister 
or ministers; and any church receiving, countenancing, or licensing any 
such minister to exhort in public or to preach, without ample evidence 
of repentance and reformation, shall be remonstrated with, and if she 
persists in her course, shall be expelled from this body. 

Article 14. As all the preachers belonging to this body are received 
and their names enrolled by the action and authority of the Conference; 
so it is not competent for any preacher to withdraw from this body except 
by a petition presented at its regular sessions. 

It is obvious that Article 13 was the one likely to create the 
greatest opposition ; especially from preachers without the State 
who with the excessive democracy of the Disciples had suffered 
no ecclesiastical control. But Disciple leaders were determined 
that North Carolina Churches of Christ should not be victimized 
by unworthy preachers. Much sacrificial energy and deep devo- 
tion had gone into the building of the Kingdom. It must be safe- 
guarded. The regulation might not always have been wisely 
applied, but viewed comprehensively, it was an outstanding fac- 
tor in protecting the Churches against catastrophes in their 
ministry. 

The effect of this constitutional provision was clearly whole- 
some in the maintenance of ministerial rectitude, honor, and 
morale. That mistakes should sometimes be made was inevita- 
ble. What ought to have been done was not always clear, even 
to the most representative Disciple counsel. Perhaps the most 
impressive instance of this was the case of Amos J. Battle. Battle 
came to the Disciples from the Missionary Baptists in 1852. He 
was a strong man. He had been Recording Secretary of the Bap- 
tist State Convention. He was from one of the leading families 
of Eastern North Carolina. In common with all pioneer preach- 
ers of his day he was forced to earn much of his sustenance from 



4 



Tar Heel Preachers 



service aside from the ministry. In 1857, he was charged with 
malfeasance by the Adams Express Company, at Hertford, while 
in their employ. It was alleged also that he did not return some 
borrowed money. In the Annual Conference a Committee of 
seven leading Disciples reported that "his errors are of sufficient 
magnitude to justify the conclusion that it is inexpedient for him 
to exercise his gift as a minister of the gospel." Thirteen years 
later, Josephus Latham who kept the old "Conference Book" in 
which this is recorded added the significant footnote: "Elder 
Battle lived to satisfy all of his excellence and we think the above 
was too hastily agreed upon." 

Coincident with the suspension of Battle an estrangement 
arose between him and Peter E. Hines, another preacher of the 
Disciples, continuing for several years. Battle found refuge in 
Christian Hope Church. They received him, and he became their 
pastor. In the 1859 Conference, Hines sought to exclude Chris- 
tian Hope from fellowship by reason of this breach of the minis- 
terial regulation. John M. Gurganus pled good faith on the 
part of Christian Hope and promised to set the Church straight. 
So her delegates were "seated." This promise was not kept, and 
in the next year's Conference Christian Hope was cast out. At 
the same time, Gurganus was "merely suspended for one year, 
or until he severs his connection with A. J. Battle." He was off 
the roll until 1864, at which time Christian Hope was also "re- 
ceived back into the Conference." Two years afterward Battle 
wrote asking for return to the Conference. His loyalty and 
humility were alike notable. He was told to come to the next 
Annual Meeting. He came armed with the request of Corinth 
Church that he be reinstated. Whereupon he was "unanimously 
received," and was given his old job of general evangelizing. His 
estrangement with Hines continued through the years. Moses 
T. Moye stepped in as peacemaker, and they were joyfully recon- 
ciled. Josephus Latham wrote Moye about this, April 12, 1870, 
and said "I have now seen Bro. Hines and he seems so different, 
so much more devoted, and his prayer was so beautiful and for- 
giving, and he seems to have no animosity at all against Elder 
Battle. Surely my dear brother you have accomplished one of 
the greatest deeds of your life." 

""The Disciples*with courage and vision faced a baffling problem 
and practically solved it. In 1867 the Annual Meeting pasll3 
unanimously the following resolution offered by Dr. Walsh : 

"That we regard it as disorderly and subversive of the peace and union 
of the churches, for anyone who has been excluded, to be received or coun- 
tenanced as a Christian or Christian Preacher by any other church or 
congregation until all difficulties are adjusted and said person fully re- 
stored to the church from which he was excluded." 



Their Order and Support 



5 



The conviction grew that there should be state-wide concert 
in the Disciple fellowship in supervision of candidates for the 
ministry. In the Kinston Convention of 1872, the Committee on 
Order of Business, which prepared agenda for the meeting, sub- 
mitted an experimental policy for adoption in the eleventh item 
of their report as follows : ''A committee of five or more experi- 
enced ministers to examine candidates for enrollment on the list 
of preachers, and applicants from other religious parties desiring 
to unite with us, but nothing in this report is to be construed as 
depriving the churches of the right to authorize any pious and 
qualified brother among them to preach the gospel." This Exam- 
ining Committee was composed of J. J. Harper, Jno. T. Walsh, 
M. T. Moye, Josephus Latham, Jos. H. Foy, and Gideon Allen. 
In their report after giving their recommendations as to particu- 
lar applicants they concluded:^ 

Hereafter, from the ministers, it will be seen and generally understood, 
that all candidates for enrollment on our list, shall undergo a rigid exam- 
ination on the elements of the Gospel by the Committee appointed for that 
purpose. It should be understood, brethren, that your committee do not 
consider it a part of their function to instigate an inquisition into the 
moral character of applicants, considering that that essential prerequisite 
has been attended to by the congregations which accredit them to your 
body. If the congregations have been imposed upon, and the Annual 
Meeting wishes to protect its own honor, it should do so in a collective 
capacity, and not by the bare fraction of a committee. We therefore con- 
strue our just powers to be limited solely to the examination of candi- 
dates upon the truths of Holy Writ. As we stated before, several breth- 
ren of undoubted worth for whose capacity and probity members of the 
committee were willing to vouch, have been passed without examination. 
This is not intended as a precedent for future irregular action, but as a 
matter of justice to parties -v^^ho would be aggrieved by the operation of a 
rule, with whose requirements they cannot comply of necessity. 

As might be supposed this was certain to create unfavorable 
reaction among some conservatives. In the Kinston convention, 
of 1872, there were only three who actually voted against the 
adoption of the report. They were Augustus Latham, Jr., J. R. 
Robinson, and Winfield Muse. Robinson explained his vote by 
saying that he saw in the measure no provision for any worthy 
candidate who might be unavoidably kept from attendance at 
the Annual State Meeting. Latham proceeded to stir up a revolt 
to the plan in the First District embracing the area now known 
as Albemarle District. He had a lengthy controversy about it 
with Dr. Walsh in The Watch Tower, Latham said: "I have 
labored faithfully against that order of last conference and am 
glad to be able to say that it is an unpopular thing here and else- 
where ; the churches down here, I think, will not regard it at all." 
In defense of the plan Walsh said:^ "In the estimation of old, 
wise and experienced brethren among us it is regarded as one of 
the best things we have done." A "Subscriber" from Craven 
County warmly congratulated the Disciples that they had at last 



6 



Tar Heel Preachers 



taken a stand for ''an educated ministry.'*^ Latham said he was 
not opposed to education, but did not think it his ''duty to learn 
to take an ipse dixit from any uninspired person."^ He added: 
"Humility does adorn a preacher, but abject servile submission 
to the decrees of any body of men does not. We have enjoyed the 
freedom that is in Christ too long for that." Walsh answered 
with a scriptural argument in favor of the plan. Latham headed 
his final article "The Convention and Church Independence."^ He 
argued that the Convention was arbitrary, assuming a function 
belonging only to the local Church. Walsh replied :^ 

The doctrine of absolute Church independence is not in the word of 
God, nor is it held by the Disciples generally. There are a few like Bro. 
Lipscomb, whom Bro. Latham quotes approvingly, that hold this view; 
but Brethren Campbell, Dunn, and Battle did not. The Church of the 
Living God is one — not many. It is one Sheepfold, one Temple, one 
House, one Body. It is compared to, and illustrated by the human body. 
All the members — the hands, feet, eyes, nose, and ears— are all parts of 
one body. In one sense they are independent and in another they are de- 
pendent parts of one whole. . . . We do not claim for Conventions that 
they always do right, but we do say that local congregations err and do 
wrong, just as often, and we think more frequently. 

Latham's revolt was effective with most of the Churches in 
the First District. In their Union Meeting at Old Ford all of the 
Churches of the District were lined up with Latham in opposi- 
tion to the Convention plan except Oak Grove, Mt. Pleasant, 
Macedonia, and Old Ford. J. R. Robinson said of this meeting 
"I was present and there told the brethren to act with discretion, 
prudence and moderation, for I regarded it as a matter that 
needed not to be troubled." With his counsel they drafted "a 
memorial expressive of the sentiment of the Union Meeting" to 
be laid before the next Annual Meeting at Hookerton in 1873. 
Robinson said : "The Annual Meeting did consider our memorial 
and change the thing." The same Committee which had reported 
the measure of 1872 presented the following resolution in 1873 
at the Disciples' Annual Meeting : 

Resolved, As the sentiment of this Convention, that while we acknowl- 
edge the prerogative of the local congregations to seek out and train men 
for the work of the ministry, that nevertheless, according to the teachings 
of the New Testament, no Christian ^congregation has any right to set 
apart or ordain anyone to the work of the Gospel Ministry, unless he has 
been first "proved" or examined by an Evangelist, or a competent Pres- 
bytery, touching his knowledge of the Gospel, and his moral character 
or Christian faithfulness: and that when the name of any new preacher 
is sent up to be enrolled on the list of preachers, the congregation of 
which he is a member shall certify to this fact in a letter addressed to the 
Convention, and signed by all of the officers of the church, Elders and Dea- 
cons, and the Evangelist who examined and ordained him. And further- 
more, That when anyone, claiming to be a Minister, and coming to the 
Church of Christ from any of the sects, shall propose to unite with us, 
he shall first unite with some one of our local congregations, and if he 
has not been previously ordained, or if his ordination is not satisfactory, 
he shall in like manner be examined and ordained and in like manner 



Their Order and Support 



7 



come recommended to our Convention. For proof see the following Scrip- 
tures: 2nd Tim. 11:2; 1st Tim. 111:2; Titus 1:9; 2nd Tim. 1:13; 1st Tim. 
111:10; Titus 1:5, and 11:7, 8. 

As soon as this resolution came from the press it stirred up 
the violent opposition of The Gospel Advocate in Nashville, Ten- 
nessee. David Lipscomb, the editor, said:^^ 

The North Carolina Convention assumes the right to keep a list of 
evangelists of the State, prescribe the qualifications of the evangelist and 
examine him and pronounce his fitness for the work. It is a gracious 
favor toward the churches, that the convention admits their right to 
seek out and train men for the ministry, but they cannot be accepted 
unless by the will of the convention. In order that they may be able to 
control this matter fully, they require that the name shall be sent up to 
them for enrollment, and that the elders of the churches shall certify 
that their rule has been complied with, and shall give the name of the 
evangelist who examined and ordained him. Then no man can preach 
Christ in North Carolina, no church can send a man out to preach Christ 
unless first some one of the ordained clergy, examine, ordain, and recom- 
mend, and this Sanhedrin of clergy approve. 

Tell us, will you, where a kingdom of the clergy can be found, if not 
here? 

Walsh asserted that this was a misrepresentation, since the 
service of a delegate Convention was the ''representative action" 
of the Churches themselves. As to Lipscomb's accusation of the 
restriction of ordination to the ''Sanhedrin of Clergy," Walsh 
said 

So far from this being correct, we hold that every disciple has a right 
to preach, to warn, and exhort his fellow men, if he conceives it his duty 
to do it; but whether the Churches, or the Convention, representing them, 
will endorse and bid every such man "God speed," without regard to his 
qualifications, mental and moral, is quite another matter, . . . Every 
Christian congregation in North Carolina has, or may have, a voice in 
their Convention. We do not call them "Consultation Meetings," as you 
do; but there is nothing clerical in our Convention. It is not a legislative 
body, but seeks by wise counsel, and sober consultation to advance the 
cause of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . . North Carolina in some respects is 
behind her sister States, but in others she is in advance of them; and in 
nothing perhaps, does she so signally excel as in the systematic and 
Scriptural manner in which her religious meetings are conducted. 

It is interesting to observe that this agitation of Walsh and his 
colleagues for an effective ministry eventually won universal sup- 
port of Disciples in the State. Augustus Latham, Jr., who had 
stiffly opposed the idea, himself offered a resolution in the Con- 
vention of 1893 and had it adopted. It was as follows : "Resolv- 
ed, That no one coming among us and claiming to be a minister 
of the Gospel shall be recognized, aided, countenanced, counseled, 
or comforted as such by any member of this Convention, except 
such an one shall have produced good and properly authenticated 
evidences that he is in good standing, and of good report." 

In the Convention of 1876, C. W. Howard offered a resolution 
which provided for a committee on Ministerial Character com- 
posed of five laymen. It was thought their character as laymen 



8 



Tar Heel Preachers 



would qualify them for effectiveness in such a difficult function. 
The first to serve in this capacity were James W. Draughan, Isaac 
Brown, Simon E. Hodges, Josiah Dixon and Levi Jackson, Jr. 
From 1876 this service has been through a Standing Committee. 
This is available any day of the year as required, and upon the 
call of the Chairman of the Board of Managers of the Convention. 

Among Disciples of Christ in America, North Carolina stands 
altogether unique in this supervision of her ministry by her Con- 
vention. In their democracy North Carolina Disciples are un- 
questionably a true cross-section of their American brotherhood. 
In their modern State Conventions experienced observers from 
outside commend warmly the evident harmony and effectiveness 
of the meetings. Yet on the outside there has been some misun- 
derstanding of the Articles of their Constitution relating to their 
ministry.^^ These were adopted in 1893 and are as follows : 

Article XIII. All who contemplate entering the ministry, and becom- 
ing members of the North Carolina Christian Missionary Convention, 
shall be examined by a Committee of five on examination for ordination, 
appointed by the President of the Convention, and duly ordained by said 
Convention. 

Article XIV. Any church, minister, or member of any organization, 
taking part in the deliberations of the Convention, shall be subject to the 
authority of the Convention; and any congregation or individual member 
who will not submit to the authority of the Convention shall be consid- 
ered disorderly. 

An editorial in The Christian Guide, Louisville, Kentucky, John 
T. Brown, editor, quoted these Articles in its issue of March 17, 
1899, and said they were "nothing more nor less than ecclesiastic- 
ism." He continued : "In the spirit of Christ let us condemn all 
such proceedings, not the motive which prompted them, but the 
departure from God's word. We have won all our victories along 
this line, and for us to indorse the proceedings of the North 
Carolina Convention, would be to give up the ground for which 
we have so long fought, and upon which, as a people, we stand 
or fall." He further contended : "No convention or body of men 
outside of the local congregation has a right to ordain ministers. 
The congregation may call in help, but the convention cannot 
ordain a minister. There is no law in the New Testament that 
gives a convention the right to ordain a minister or to discipline 
a minister or any other member of the church. The government 
of the local congregation is the highest church government known 
in the New Testament." 

John J. Harper answered this by pointing out that in the 
North Carolina practice the local church always must take the 
initiative in leading the candidate to ordination, and must stand 
by him all the way through ; that the convention is but a demo- 
cratic advisory body, and, by its delegate character is a kind of 
sublimated servant of the whole church within its bounds. As 



( 

Their Order and Support 



9 



to the scriptural warrant for this, Dr. Walsh had long before 
pointed it out acceptably and irrefutably. Harper concluded: 
''These rules were established for good and sufficient reasons, and 
they have had the effect of saving us many times from gross im- 
position by tramp preachers from other States. . . . Our organ- 
ization has been to us a great breakwater and means of protec- 
tion, and has done much to develop, elevate, and render efficient 
our ministry ; so much so that it will compare favorably with the 
ministry in other States." 

NOTES: 

iFifteen page Pamphlet in Carolina Collections, University of North 
Carolina, bound in a volume entitled "Sermons," Card Catalogue C252S48. 
2From letter in collection of Mrs. J. C. Eagles, Wilson, N. C. SMinutes, 

1872, 4Watch Tower, June 1873, page 270. sibid., page 271. eibid., July, 

1873, pages 283-284. Tibid., Sept., 1873, pages 347-349. sibid., April, 

1874, pages 241-243. 9ibid., pages 250, 251. lOIbid., May, 1874, pages 300- 
302. iilbid., Jan., 1874, page 127. i2Ibid., pages 128, 129. i30tey-Briney 
Debate, pages 184-190: 195-197: 202, 207, 216, 221, 225. 



II. THE MINISTRY — ITS SUPPORT 

The Disciples have always needed a ministry whose time and 
strength should be consecrated wholly to the building of the 
Kingdom of God. In North Carolina this demand was not ap- 
preciably supplied for decades. Almost at the beginning of the 
Movement in this State one of their strongest personalities spoke 
boldly and clearly on this issue. Their Convention of 1846 met 
at Post Oak Church, where Vanceboro now stands. John P. 
Dunn according to appointment wrote the Circular Letter. It 
was based upon I Corinthians 9:14: ''Even so hath the Lord 
ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the 
Gospel." It was one of the best of the Disciples' early papers. 
He was aware that some would disagree with his stand on the 
support of the ministry. He rejoiced, however, that he addressed 
a group who had avowed their reliance upon "divinely appointed 
means." From that vantage point he urged with special power 
that his fellow Disciples should practice what they preached. He 
was also free from any self-interest in this exhortation, since he 
had the personal resources of a large estate. 

He said:^ 

The duty of supporting the Gospel ministry is apparent, both from 
reason and the Scriptures. If it is the duty of the Minister of the Gospel 
to give himself wholly to the work, it is evident that he cannot derive his 
support from his own efforts in pecuniary matters. That he must have 
food and raiment for himself and his family, if he has one, is equally 
clear. That the preacher of the Gospel has been doomed by his Master 
to a mere pittance for life, while the education of his children, and the 



10 



Tar Heel Preachers 



necessary provision for his family are neglected, no rational man can 
believe. Who then is bound to support the minister of the Gospel, and 
enable him to do justice to his family. Reason answers — the government 
that employs him as its minister — the Church of Christ. . . . Many pious 
young men, with the requisite gifts and qualifications for preaching and 
teaching are now confined to some honest avocation, for the support of 
themselves and families. They are not able to devote themselves to the 
ministry of the Word, without pecuniary aid. Most of our preaching 
brethren are past, are on, or near the meridian of life, and cannot be 
expected, in the common course of human events to continue much longer 
in the Gospel field. 

Beloved Brethren, what shall be done in this matter? Shall the cause 
which we love so much, languish and pine away among us for want of 
our pecuniary aid? We trust it shall not. We hope that our hearts and 
purses shall be freely opened, and our hands will liberally contribute to 
sustain a faithful Gospel Ministry. We are so much bound by the law of 
Christ, to pay this debt, as we are by the laws of North Carolina to pay 
taxes for the support of government. If this be not so the writers of the 
New Testament have misguided us on this subject. 

We found no record among Disciples of North Carolina of any 
stated amount paid by any church to her respective minister in 
the first decade. Tradition had it that the first minister paid a 
regular definite amount was John Dupree of Mill Creek.^ His 
salary was twelve dollars per year. His name first appeared on 
the Minutes of 1848. 

In 1855 Dr. R. Hooker wrote to The Christian Friend, edited 
by Dr. Walsh, that there was ''a Crisis with the Reformation.''^ 
He declared this was because the ministry was not duly sustain- 
ed. He put it in vivid language: ''Honest and pure hearted 
preachers in all ages have resembled the Camels of Arabia, which, 
while they carry spices and jewels to others feed on shrubs and 
thistles." This stirred James A. Butler of Okolona, Mississippi, 
a staff contributor of The Christian Friend, to write of another 
side of the problem. He said :^ 

Churches are seldom on the gospel line as regards the support of their 
ministers. Sometimes the salaries are beyond the learning and abilities 
of the preacher, and in this harm is done. A preacher, with a large 
stipend, is tempted to adopt a style proportionate, and in consequence 
becomes inaccessible and unprofitable to the poor of his flock, who are 
the numerous and better part of it. . . . There is a place somewhere be- 
tween the palace and the alms-house where the ministers of the gospel 
ought to reside. 

If our zeal depends for its pulsations upon the jewels and bracelets of 
a brother or sister, or our own, then, sir, our crown will dim! "Ichabod" 
will be written. We had better go to heaven in rags, than to hell in em- 
broidery. . . . We must establish high schools for the training of our 
youth, under the tutelage of competent and God-fearing men. Then we 
can send men into the vineyard who can so speak as to make attention 
hang upon their sentences and conviction close their periods; men who 
can hold their audience in willing captivity by facts and arguments; men 
who will not "bow the supple knee that thrift may follow flawing." 

As the War Between the States approached, living expenses 
increased. Writing in October, 1855, Dr. Walsh then located at 
Kinston, confessed and exhorted as follows : 



Their Order and Support 



11 



Provisions have been so high during the current year, our income for 
preaching will hardly meet our expenses. At the present rate for living, 
the salaries of preachers should be doubled; otherwise they must fall 
behind-hand, or be forced from the field to some other more profitable 
employment. What is the reason that professed Disciples of Christ in 
North Carolina are behind all other denominations in this respect? There 
are some liberal brethren; but where is the brother who gives in propor- 
tion to his means? Where is the brother who gives to the Lord as much 
as he does to the State? I know some wealthy brethren, who, if they 
give $10 or $15, think that they have done wonders. They should blush. 

In December, 1857, Dr. Wm. H. Hughart, who had located at 
Wilson, wrote a ''Discourse," on ''Support of the Gospel Minis- 
try," which ran in some issues of The Disciples' Advocate, the 
state paper edited by Dr. Walsh. In an introductory word to 
this the editor said:^ "We suppose the covetous will not relish 
it very well, but those who love God more than gold will, we 
trust, appreciate their obligations in the matter of sustaining 
the Gospel. We know by experience that Churches are often 
slow to promise, slower to pay, and slowest of all to pay all they 
pledge." The next summer Dr. Hughart submitted an article on 
"The Divine Rule for raising funds to support the Gospel Min- 
istry." This came in response to a request from a generous sub- 
scriber. The editor commented on it, out of his experience, as 
follows : 

It is difficult for rich men to realize the wants of those who are poor, 
and as a majority of the preachers belong to this class, they very often 
fail to have the sympathies of their rich brethren. They do not know 
what it is to want for anything, and they can scarcely realize how anyone 
else can. They never voluntarily offer anything for his support, but wait 
to be solicited to give something; and then, after it is subscribed, they 
wait to be called on for it; and hence it very often remains unpaid till 
the end of the year, and, in the meantime, the preacher has been paying 
interest on what he owes! 

In 1859, a querist with the signature, "A Preacher," asked Dr. 
Walsh, through his Christian Baptist, the following question:^ 
"Is it right for those preachers who are wealthy, or able to live 
on their own means independently, to accept the care of the 
churches, or preach generally without any remuneration, when 
the churches are able to pay?" 

The editorial reply was an emphatic "No!" Dr. Walsh said: 

It is not right for any preacher to accept the care of a church, without 
■ any remuneration, when such church is able to pay. If such preacher is 
wealthy or can live independently on his own means, and does not need 
what the church is able and willing to pay him, he should nevertheless 
receive it, and appropriate it to benevolent objects. Not to receive it 
encourages the church to do nothing, and so long as they can secure the 
services of a preacher for nothing they withhold from the cause that aid 
which is due from every Christian Church. In a word, this plan culti- 
vates the covetousness of the brethren, and is a real injury to all the par- 
ties concerned. ... In all love and kindness we are compelled to say 
that this very plan has seriously injured the cause with us; for some of 
our good and able brethren have preached so long for nothing, that the 
churches have well-nigh come to the conclusion that all preachers should 
do so! 



12 



Tar Heel Preachers 



During the War Between the States the service of the minis- 
try was increasingly sporadic. This was due to the economic as 
well as the military situation. In a news letter to the Millennial 
Harbinger shortly after the close of the war, John J. Harper 
spoke of the ''extreme destitution" of his people. W. K. Pendle- 
ton, as editor of the Harbinger, led a benevolent movement called 
"Contributions for the South." For North Carolina Dr. J. T. 
Walsh, then living at New Bern, served by Pendleton's appoint- 
ment as dispensing agent for his State for this fund. 

In the summer of 1870, Joseph H. Foy became full-time pastor 
at Kinston. He was the first Disciple in the State to serve in 
such a capacity. His salary was eight hundred dollars per year. 
He did not continue this long as he was soon engaged in school 
work to which he gave so much of his life. He was a gifted man. 
He was called to the Central Christian Church, St. Louis, Mis- 
souri, where he located in March, 1878. Dr. Walsh expressed 
regret at Foy's leaving, and said :^ ''The Disciples in North Caro- 
lina have not in the past, nor are they now doing their duty. The 
preachers are poorly paid, and their minds are necessarily bur- 
dened with the cares of this life ; and so long as this is the case 
the probability is that some, if not the majority, of our best 
preachers will leave the State. We have some as good preachers 
as they have anywhere, but not one among them all is sustained 
in the work." 

The State Evangelist of 1873 resigned after a few months' 
service for lack of support. A contributor to The Watch Tower 
said of this:^^ 

Wherever he labored during the short time, he gave universal satisfac- 
tion; and it was conceded if he continued, the simplicity of the Gospel 
would have been wafted triumphantly. But not wishing to be "worse 
than an infidel" he has discontinued his labors and gone home to enjoy 
the association of those who are dear to him. . . . We number in this 
state over 4,000 Disciples and 46 preachers; not one of them giving him- 
self "wholly" to the work. Everyone that wars "entangles himself with 
the affairs of this life." Brethren let us be aroused to a stronger degree 
of action; let us manifest our faith by our works. Let us retain the 
money we spend for circuses and ardent spirits and place it in the Lord's 
treasury, and there will be no occasion for our evangelist resigning. 

Confronted with the fact that the Disciples' support of the 
Evangelist had failed. Dr. Walsh reacted with a caustic compari- 
son. He said 

Is not the gospel of more value than rabbits, foxes, and deer? Are not 
the preachers of more worth than the dogs? And yet the dogs cost more 
than all the preachers put together! Poor preachers! Worthless dogs! 
God will judge your relative value. But in this world the dogs stand 
higher, are better cared for, and consume more than the ministers of 
the Lord Jesus Christ! From this standpoint, it were better to be a dog 
than a preacher! What a pity the preachers cannot be dogs all the week, 
and turn preachers on the Lord's Day. Then they would all be sustained. 



Their Order and Support 



13 



A minister in 1874, facing the current financial crisis, in speak- 
ing of himself, confessed ''God is our witness and so are all 
the Disciples that our whole public life has been one of self- 
abnegation. We have ignored our pecuniary interest and sought 
to live by doing good to others. The labors of the mind are as 
onerous as those of the body, and indeed more so ; but too many 
think they amount to nothing, and hence withhold all compen- 
sation." 

Foy was a gifted speaker and teacher but also brilliant as a 
writer. The following was a characteristic passage from one of 
his appeals in the Watch Totver : 

I venture the assertion, that but for the self-sacrificing spirit of 
our preachers, many of whom I know and am proud to call my friends, 
the cause today in North Carolina, puling and sickly though it be, 
would be in a far worse condition. I am in a condition to speak bold- 
ly, for I preach without stipulated compensation, and would preach 
whether I ever received another dollar for my services, so long as I 
feel the stirrings of an impulse to communicate to others that blessed- 
ness which I have myself shared. Latham is teaching, I hear; the 
amiable Harper is merchandizing; Wilson (tell it not in Gath) is 
blasting rock! A man of power, capable of measuring strength with 
giants, but oppressed by a large and dependent family, is engaged in 
a toilsome calling, honorable indeed, but far from lucrative and sure- 
ly repugnant to one of intellectual tastes and culture; one who con- 
tinually hears the inquiry ringing in his ears: "What shall I do with 
this Jesus?" . . Our venerable brother, Walsh, after a quarter of 
a century's toil, never adequately requited — in his old age, surround- 
ed by a lovely group — but alas! a dependent group — knows what it 
is to eat the bread of carefulness, and too often, I fear, to moisten it 
with his tears. Bro. Moye was seriously injured in business, to my 
certain knowledge, by his burning zeal — until he was forced to aban- 
don measurably his efforts by the pressing necessities of his fam- 
ily. . . . 

Paul's injunction to Timothy was to give himself wholly to the 
work — and we never shall secure the highest order of the ministry 
until "they who preach the Gospel shall live of the Gospel." Men 
whose time is divided and whose influence is crippled by worldly com- 
plications, can never throw themselves into the current witti that 
resistless vigor which should characterize the bearers of the cross. 
The church should say, "Go ye, and your families shall be taken care 
of. You, yourself, after age and decrepitude have fastened upon you, 
shall not be turned out to pick the scant grass of the world's cold 
common, like a disabled and worn-out stage-horse, but you shall then 
be tenderly cared for, until you go up to receive your reward from 
the Master's hand." 

This distress among the preachers seems to have been univer- 
sal at this period. Dr. Walsh had a letter from a friend in the 
ministry in Missouri, who saidi^^ "This is the hardest time on 
fearless preachers of the word that I have ever known. Satan's 
strongest dependence to crush the Primitive Faith is to starve 
the Defenders of Truth and Righteousness — a result that is now 
being reached." Walsh agreed and added : ''Covetousness is one 
of the great sins of this time ; and if the devil can starve out the 
preachers, and so silence them, his work is done." 



14 



Tar Heel Preachers 



As a matter of course the ministry in the other communions 
suffered as did the Disciples. In the spring of 1883, the follow- 
ing editorial appeared in The News and Observer 

"A writer in the Church Messenger calls attention to the fact that there 
are quite a number of Episcopal ministers in the State of North Carolina 
whose average pay appears to be $265, but it is understood that the aver- 
age pay of the ministers of that denomination in the State is less than 
the pay of either the Presbyterians or the Methodists. How can a man 
who has to provide for a family on $265, be satisfied that he is perform- 
ing his duty to his family?" 

This was copied in The Watch Tower. It suggested to the 
editor, J. L. Winfield, to state : 'The salary of Disciple ministers 
in the State ranges from $100 to $600 and they are giving their 
time and talent nearly exclusively to the work. We publish the 
above item to let our Evangelists know that while they are re- 
ceiving a lean support, they have sympathizing friends in other 
communions who are sharing the hardships of life." 

A conscience was slowly developed among North Carolina Dis- 
ciples for taking care of needy aged ministers and their depend- 
ents. Foreshadowing their Brotherhood-wide Pension Fund, 
which began to function in a large way in 1931, in the Wilson 
Convention of 1902, the following measure was adopted: 

Resolved 1st. That the President appoint a committee of five broth- 
ers, who shall be called a committee on the aged and needy preachers 
of the gospel. 

2. That the committee shall organize by electing a Chairman and 
Secretary, and shall meet one or more times during the year, if deem- 
ed necessary by the Chairman. 

3. The duties of said committee shall be to ascertain and find out 
the condition and necessities of the aged preachers. 

4. That each and every congregation of Disciples of Christ are 
requested to take one or more collections for said purpose, and send 
the amount to the Financial Secretary, who shall forward 25 per cent 
of said collection to the "National Board of Ministerial Relief," and 
the balance to be paid out as recommended by the committee. 

5. That the pastors of the various churches be requested to preach 
one or more sermons urging the collection. 

6. That the said committee shall report these proceedings to the 
next Convention. 

Appointed to serve on this Committee were : P. S. Swain, S. W. 
Sumrell, Fernando Ward, and N. D. Myers. They reported in the 
1903 Convention that during the year only one offering had been 
received, that of $3.25 from Albemarle Church. As an independ- 
ent State enterprise it had been given a feeble start indeed. Later 
it was absorbed by the National Ministerial Relief of the Disci- 
ples and later adequately enlarged by a comprehensive Pension 
System. 



Their Order and Support 



15 



The Disciples moved slowly but surely to a more intensive min- 
istry. The President of the Belhaven Convention of 1907 said 
with candor 

The fact that we have more than 150 vacant pulpits in this State each 
Lord's Day in the year, and that other fact, that we only have eight 
churches in the State able to employ a pastor full time when they are 
able to secure one at all, should certainly cause the brotherhood of the 
State to sit up and take notice. These eight churches are Washington, 
Wilson, Kinston, Asheville, Winston-Salem, Belhaven, Greenville, and 
Wilmington. Of these, Washington is at present without a pastor. Wil- 
mington's pastor is supported entirely by the State Board and the Pamlico 
Union, and Asheville can only keep a man when aided by the State. This 
is certainly a deplorable condition. It is so pathetic indeed, that it should 
cause everyone who truly loves the cause to rally to its aid, and seek to 
swing every dollar possible into line. 

With the World War I there was radical increase in the cost 
of living. So much so that in the Wilson Convention in 1917, it 
was resolved that ''the churches wherever possible should in- 
crease the salaries of their ministers, and that the State Secre- 
tary should advise official boards of Churches that this hearty 
and deliberate suggestion is commended to their serious atten- 
tion." For a few years there was a steady large increase, and 
in later years a consistent small increase. Within ten years the 
average annual salary of the entire ministry within the State 
had been increased one hundred and twenty per cent. This large 
gain was for North Carolina Disciples a substantial improvement 
in this aspect of their church life — a concrete sign of a better 
day. 

NOTES: 

iCircular letter, Minutes, 1846. 2H. Williams, most aged member of 
Mill Creek Church, in personal interview with the author. 3Christian 
Friend and Bible Unionist, April, 1855, page 331. ^Ibid., pages 331, 332. 
SDisciples' Advocate, Dec, 1857, page 84. eibid., Aug., 1858, page 342. 
schristian Baptist (Walsh) March, 1859, page 87. 9Watch Tower, April 
1878, page 86. lOIbid., June, 1873, pages 263, 264. nibid., Feb., 1874, 
page 172. i2lbid., page 180. i^lbid., June, 1878, page 136. isibid., May 
15, 1883, editorial page. i6Minutes, 1907. 

PUBLISHER'S NOTE 

The foregoing historical statement giving the factual founda- 
tion of the long-estabHshed polity in effect among North Carolina 
Disciples of Christ, has been reprinted, as slightly revised, to 
adapt it to present service, as an agreed project of the executive 
session of the Board of Managers, North Carolina Christian Mis- 
sionary Convention, meeting at Kinston, N. C, June 6, 1946. 
Later on the same day, it was unanimously approved in advisory 
session with a significant cross-section of ministers and other 
leaders, who there counseled deliberately on this constructive pro- 
posal for a djoiamic education of responsible leaders in local 



16 



Tar Heel Preachers 



churches, looking to effectual application of these cherished con- 
cepts for an availing ministry. This background study so illum- 
inates the present situation, that we fervently hope that it will 
be read and reread by every elder, deacon, deaconess, and other 
responsible leader in North Carolina Churches of Christ. The 
need for this is vital. 

Following are the two articles of the Constitution now in effect 
bringing into focus the thought of generations, past and present, 
as applied to the stated issue : 

Article XIII. All who contemplate entering the ministry, and be- 
coming members of the N. C. C. M. Convention, shall be examined by a 
committee of three on examination for ordination, appointed by the 
President of the Convention, and duly ordained by said Convention. 
But the Board of Managers may examine and ordain such applicants 
or appoint a committee to do so when the Convention is not in session. 

Article XIV. Any church, minister, or member of any organiza- 
tion taking part in the deliberations of the Convention, shall be sub- 
ject to the authority of the Convention, and any congregation or indi- 
vidual member who will not submit to the authority of the Conven- 
tion shall be considered disorderly. 



END